It wasn’t pretty, but the Twins managed to snap their 11-game losing streak with a walk-off win over the Mariners today, as Rene Tosoni went 3-for-4 and delivered the game-winning double after coming into the day with a .164 batting average.
With the win Minnesota improves to 60-95, which means Houston has officially clinched the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft. And the Twins will be No. 2 after not picking higher than 14th since 2001, when they selected Joe Mauer first overall.
As for who they’ll be targeting … well, a lot can change between now and June, but Baseball America released their initial ranking of the top 50 prospects available in the 2012 draft.
Generally speaking the draft class is considered underwhelming, particularly in terms of elite talent, but the primary names to track are Stanford right-hander Mark Appel, Arizona State shortstop Deven Marrero, and Florida catcher Mike Zunino.
Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.
Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.
Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.